Seven Top News Widgets

Charlie R. Claywell
Reuters Top News Pictures widget

In the online world, content is king, and news widgets are an excellent way to bring fresh, updated information to your website. A great news widget supplies news that complements your site's original content. These free widgets were chosen as the best available based on the content provided, ease of implementation, low ad content, and the look and feel of the widget.

1. Reuters Widgets

If you are looking for a respected non-American news source then Reuters is a great option. Billed as the world's largest international multimedia news agency, Reuters is known for its ability to supply news quickly. It specializes in business, U.S., world, politics, entertainment and technology news.

Available Categories and Options

With more than ten categories to choose from, you can select from 'hard news' categories like Top News, Political and Business. Other headline widget choices include Oddly Enough, Deals, and Food Crisis stories. These widgets provide a list of fresh stories updated several times per hour, and with the included 'Next' link, users can scroll through to two three pages of headline links.

A big plus for Reuters' content is they don't restrict the news to headlines and text. Their Top News, Political, Entertainment and Oddly Enough widgets are also available as video. Video widgets pull in a headline, summary and the video clip. This allows the user to quickly access the content and begin watching the video immediately.

Pros

  • There is a wide variety of content and formats (video, photos and text).
  • Users can access all the stories inside the widget with three clicks or less, making the widget very user-friendly.
  • Since the widget does not pre-define the width of its content, this widget can be made as wide or as narrow as your website's design allows.
  • The widget is free with no ad content.

Cons

  • You cannot alter the look of the widget at all. It is pre-selected, so what you see is what you get.

2. Google News Feed

It's no surprise that Google would land near the top of the list since the company specializes in information. This widget can easily supply fresh content every hour or less for your site.

Available Categories and Options

The Google News Feed pulls in content across seven categories: Top Stories, World, Business, Entertainment, Technology, Sports, and U.S. This ensures a constant flow of current news, with plenty of topics to address any news interest for the average user. Since the widget contains a scroll bar, the user can access up to 105 stories across these seven categories.

Pros

  • The widget is free, with lots of current, viable content.
  • The width and height can be adjusted, and it is simple to install by embedding a link.
  • The content can be displayed as headline, or headline with short or long summary.
  • You have lots of options including how many stories to display (up to fifteen), giving the widget a title, and twelve different color schemes.

Cons

  • The widget is somewhat plain looking.
  • It contains text ads at bottom of the headline list.

3. CNN Widgets

For some, CNN is the ultimate news source, especially for American-based news. This cable-based news organization has an endless flow of content being sent to their widgets.

Available Categories and Options

CNN has a variety of RSS feeds that you can access and present on your website using an RSS widget.

Pros

  • The widget provides a free, endless supply of current domestic and international news from a respected source.
  • The widget is simple to install; just copy and paste the link into your page.
  • The content can be displayed in multiple ways (headline, etc.).
  • You have the option of using either JavaScript or Flash coding.
  • You can customize the look of the widget somewhat with various color options.

Cons

  • The width is predetermined and narrow.
  • The free edition of the widget includes text ads, and it links back to Widgetbox.

4. USA Today Widgets

Probably better known for its newspaper content than its online content, USA Today is still an excellent source for a variety of news options.

Available Categories and Options

USA Today offers the following widgets: Sports, Green News, Personal Finance, Most Popular Headlines, Politics, Pop Candy, Today in the Sky and Travel. Each widget displays about ten headlines with relevant navigation links in the bottom of the box. For example, the Sports widget includes a Scores link at the bottom of the content, which is very practical for users. The Pop Candy widget displays the latest trends and news in music, movies, TV, books, and video and includes a standing link to the columnist's Podcast.

Pros

  • The widget is free and ad free.
  • It provides fresh, updated content across a wide spectrum of interest.
  • It is easy to install.

Cons

  • The width and look is predetermined, limiting display options.
  • The widgets contain the USA Today logo in addition to sometimes bearing the image of the columnist associated with the column.

5. ESPN Widgets

If news means sport news to you, then ESPN is a good solution. With 24-hour coverage of sports, their news widgets are constantly updating and often include game scores.

Available Categories and Options

In addition to a general sports news widget category, ESPN offers eight categories dedicated to a specific sport, like baseball or soccer. You have a wide range of widgets to choose from because each category has multiple widgets. More than 20 widgets are available, so you can get sports news that is as specific or general as you prefer. Most widgets offer two tabs allowing users to view additional headlines with one click

Pros

  • Installation is easy - simply cut and paste coding to put a widget on your page.
  • The widget is free with no ads.
  • The widget is frequently updated with content from a respected source of sports news.
  • There are plenty of category options.

Cons

  • Each ESPN widget has the same design and is color-coded to match ESPN's colors and themes.
  • Size is predetermined (300 pixels x 387 pixels), which may limit display options.

6. CBS News

One of the original "big three" news sources in the United States, widgets from CBS News tend to focus on stories that are trending.

Available categories and options

CBS offers six categories for their widgets: Breaking News, Top News Videos, Most Popular Stories, Only on CBS, Political News and Health News. Because of the categories they offer, the news tends to be whatever is trending for that day, so the headlines may not change as often as other news sources.

Pros

  • The widget is free with no ads.
  • It contains current content from a respected news source.
  • It is simple to install.
  • The widget has floating width, so it can be displayed as wide or narrow as needed.

Cons

  • You are unable to control the number of headlines.
  • Included links are based on what is popular with users, so they may not always be breaking news.
  • There is not a way to include summary text, images or videos with headlines.
  • The look of this widget is dated.

7. Associated Press Widget

For a source of consistently updated news, the Associated Press is an obvious choice, however it does offer limited options.

Available Categories and Options

This widget will display up to ten breaking news stories, all of which are accessible by using the scroll bar on the right of the widget.

Pros

  • It contains current, free content from a respected news source.
  • It's simple to install.
  • There is a color wheel option that permits ample color scheme design choices.
  • Various design options let you customize its look on your website.

Cons

  • This widget supplies only breaking, headline-driven news stories, something that can limit its usability on a website
  • There are ads inside the widget.
  • It links back to Widgetbox.
  • It is narrow in size.

Widget Maintenance

Since control of a widget's content is handled by the creator of the widget, don't presume everything will flow and update correctly. Monitor your widgets daily or weekly, depending of your site's traffic. Double check that new stories have appeared and are being populated as often as you desire. Since replacing a widget is usually just a cut and paste function, it is simple to remove an under performing widget from your site and replace it with a quality one.

Was this page useful?
Seven Top News Widgets